Paint maker Sherwin-Williams Co. saw its first quarter profit fall by more than half, the company said Thursday, as paint sales slowed and the dismal housing market weighed down results.
But the company's profit was still sharply better than expected, and its shares climbed to a three-month high in trading.
Sherwin-Williams gets about half its sales from remodeling and repainting business. As the economy slowed -- and housing sales dropped -- its sales contracted sharply.
"We did, in fact, see a sharp drop in demand for paint and coatings in the second half of last year and we had no reason to expect that conditions would improve early this year," Chairman and Chief Executive Christopher M. Connor told investor during a conference call. "And clearly, they have not."Its first-quarter earnings were $37 million, or 32 cents a share, compared to $78 million, or 64 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Sales were $1.55 billion, a decrease of 13% over last year's first quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet Research estimated, on average, earnings per share of 22 cents and sales of $1.61 billion. For the second quarter, the Cleveland, Ohio paint company expects earnings per share of $1.20 to $1.45 and for the full year of 2009 $3.00 to $4.00 per share.
Disclosure I do not own shares of SHW.